Exhibition of the students of the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design ALUO. Artists: Urška Aplinc, Maja Burja, Iza Pavlina, Tanja Sabol, Tomo Stanič
This year’s curated presentation of the Ljubljana Academy of Art and Design students is entitled Transferences. Similarly to the year before the presentation of the youngest generation of Slovene art scene does not take a henceforth set theme or conceptual framework, but rather identifies it in course as a binding element of exhibited works. It strives to make an inversion of the usual process of curating: it would be all too simple to interpret academy students’ shows as group theme exhibitions. Instead their presentations use the exhibition frame as a handy tool for discovering, identifying and articulating common starting points, interests, approaches and their reception in the wider social-political context.
Transferences thus present a wide and ambivalent framework for researching and reflecting the art production of the younger generation on more than one level. The one that interests us most is the phenomenon of transference in relation to the process, mode and space for articulating an art work. It seems that the younger generation of artists is increasingly interested in the process of translation, the transmittance of content, information and meaning, particularly with regard to its dimension of intermediacy. Central to their work is neither the perfection of form nor precision of statements, but rather the transitional space in which it is still unclear what will happen to the initial idea. It is this moment of free combinatorics that the works presented in Transferences are set against. As her starting point Urška Aplinc thus takes an old German botanical book on mushrooms she accidentally comes across. Her search for possible artistic permutations builds upon the manipulation of different tools of translation, documentarism and scientific research without trying to shape a concise work of art where each of the used elements would find its proper place. Rather, Aplinc strives to problematize different instruments at her disposal, and the arbitrariness of the artist’s »translation work«. Tomo Stanič examines the implications of translation on the level of formal units of language and image. Genre intersection of the fictitious/literary and the documentary/scientific he builds upon in the work Who’s afraid of representation? develops into a mutual deconstruction of the objective narrative of a testimony and the children’s fairy-tale. Michel Foucault identified the imperative of knowing and speaking the truth about oneself as a key element of the modern subjectivity which constitutes the self as the object of knowledge. For this very reason it is the dissolution of the narrative forms in which the truth of our modernity was articulated that becomes central for the search for resilience the young artists are after. Maja Burja tackles the truth-constituting forms of the fixated image and focused gaze through their deconstruction in the medium of photography. The primacy of the objectifying gaze is annihilated in the stratification of the image and its resistance to a single apprehension, while the focused object is lost in insertions of the unconscious and accidental.
Reflection of the process and questioning the motivations and choices which direct and determine the practice of art is evident in the explicitly ironic rendering of the art practice as well as artists’ own position in this frame. Why the chosen and not another formulation? Why the chosen rather than another medium? How do these choices determine our position in the institution of art? Iza Pavlina scrutinizes the manipulative nature of art in the project entitled Talk to Strangerswhere she presents herself as a fourteen year old in daily chat sessions with elderly men on Omegle, an online chat website. With this mise-en-scène Pavlina radicalizes the traditional allegory of the artist-trickster, a swindler that commands his object, exploits the medium and predisposes the reading. The exhibited work Old & Young is presented as an artistically rendered project documentation that intensifies these tensions. The tensions between possible consequences of an (artist’s?) decision are central for Tanja Sabol’s project The Kitchen, a series of social events of preparing dinners, which with their transfer to a gallery space extend the tensity between a performative act and an everyday activity, that is immanent to the work and never gets settled. This is further implied by promotional leaflets which as the only documentation of the event advertise the project as a catering service for similar social gatherings.
The intentional insistence on the openness of presented works, which is not (only) interpretative receptivity, but rather a persistent reflection of transferences, translations and condensations in the artistic process, is the common ground of this year’s exhibition of the Ljubljana Art and Design Academy students. This does not imply the rejection of responsibility for their actions, but on the contrary emphasizes it through the awareness of consequences of each choice and the ideological nature of form. Transferencesreject the fetishization of the final product and return to the reflection of the process, a constitutive element for the critical self-consciousness of art.
The programme of Škuc Gallery is supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.